Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats


have closed up. It goes on in an uninterrupted series from the
library regulations to the law of the land. The great officials
break the great laws, the small officials break the small laws,
and the result is a total lack of social discipline and general
disregard for social rules and regulations.

The fact is, the family system stands midway between
extreme individualism and the new sense of social conscious-
ness which, in the West, includes the whole society. Chinese
society is cut up into little family units, inside which exists the
the greatest communistic co-operation, but between the units
no real bond of unity exists, except the state. As China has
stood practically alone and unchallenged, even this sense of
state, or nationalism, has not been greatly developed. So
family consciousness has taken the place of the social conscious-
ness and national consciousness in the West. Some form of
nationalism is developing, but no one need be alarmed. The
"yellow peril" can come from Japan but not from China.
Deep down in our instincts we want to die for our family, but
we do not want to die for our state. None of us ever want to
die for the world. The propaganda of the Japanese militarist
clique that says a nation should aggrandize itself in order to
bring "peace and harmony" to Asia, or even to the world, can
have no appeal to the Chinese. To such appeals we are
strangely, superlatively, heathenishly callous. To such appeals,
our only answer is, "What do you mean?" We will not save
the world. Enough provocation there is in modern Chinese
international relations to goad us and weld us into a national
unity, but the surprising thing is how well we resist such
influences and provocations.

Viewing the nation as a whole, it may really seem as if we
mean to carry along as we were before. Travellers in 1935 in
Japan and China can observe the greatest possible contrast
in this respect. Compare the Japanese, busy and bustling,
reading a newspaper in the tram or in the train, with a dogged
face and determinecL chin and a cloud of imminent national
disaster hanging over his brow, determined that Japan must
either smash the world or be smashed in the next great conflict,
and preparing for its coming—and the Chinese in his long
gown, as placid, as contented, as happy-go-lucky, as if nothing